MILLBURY, Mass. - Out of 58 Millbury students who applied to Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School this year, only 18 were accepted.
School Committee member Art Corey, speaking at a recent School Committee meeting, asked the question "what about the kids who didn't get accepted to BVT? I have concerns about those kids."
While Millbury has created outstanding accelerated programs for kids interested in pursuing higher education and has a great special education program in place, the question remains: what about the kids who have neither the desire or perhaps the grades for higher education? Do the kids wanting to learn a trade or skill upon leaving Millbury High being properly prepared for this?
"I do have great concerns for these kids," Corey said during an interview. "Out of the 58 who applied (to BVT), only 18 were accepted. What about those 40 kids who want to learn a trade or skill that don't want to go to college? What happens to those kids who don't get accepted, are we preparing them properly for life after Millbury High School?"
BVT is drawing some of the best and brightest and many of the students selected to attend there go on to higher education, but Corey was quick to point out that he felt Blackstone Valley Superintendent-Director Michael Fitzpatrick was only doing what he feels is best for his school.
"We here in Millbury made a committment to BVT and in doing so dissolved our Industrial Arts programs, but I'm worried about those kids who fall in-between," Corey said.
So what is the answer? Corey said he's worried about the students who weren't accepted.
"We had 31 percent get accepted, so those 40 kids might mean 80 kids next year. What are their prospects for finding a good job or a career when they leave Millbury High?" he asked. "I don't know, but I'd be lying if I said I felt good about it."
Asked if there was money for such programs, he replied "no, there isn't any money anywhere, which makes it more difficult."
One possible solution: the McGrath School, currently leased to school special education students and those with behavioral problems. Owned by the town, it isn't part of the Millbury School system. But perhaps bringing some drafting and trades classes could provide a gap between BVT and those in Millbury who didn't get the opportunity to go there.
Speaking on this Corey said, "I don't know that its feasible, but its certainly worth consideration. Especially talking about Millbury's kids here, it is their future we're talking about."